For all the drama that enriched Greece’s 2004 European Championship victory, the Greeks were never renowned for their ability to score stunning goals. Having not made this summer’s tournament in France, Greece instead travelled to the Southern Hemisphere to take on Australia in back to back friendlies – during which Greek midfielder Ioannis Maniatis scored the goal of his career.
After losing the first fixture in a tepid 1-0, Greece took revenge over the Socceroos with a 2-1 victory in the second fixture – the winning goal in which was a the moment of sublime skill.
Aproaching the 21st minute of the game, Greece’s defensive midfielder Giannis Maniatis caught Australian goalkeeper Adam Federici cold, striking an astonishing 60 yard lob from well inside his own half. The ‘David Beckham’ moment was The Greek midfielder’s first-ever international goal, what a way to mark it.
The stranded Federici was caught well off his line in what looked to be a deliberate ploy from Australia, adopting a ‘sweeper keeper’ system:
To be fair, Federici sticking to what he’s been told to do… pic.twitter.com/baAyvYnW0Q
— Adam Peacock (@adampeacock3) June 7, 2016
Many critics were quick to blame Federici for being out of position, including former Australia and Manchester United keeper, Mark Bosnich.
“He’s asking for trouble,
“It’s difficult for me being an ex-goalkeeper when you make a mistake — it’s horrible — but it’s no one else’s fault but his.
“When you’re that far out and you lose position automatically then your first thought is getting back to goal because that’s the only way you can get beat.”
The ‘sweeper keeper’ is a role that’s been defined by Germany and Bayern Munich keeper, Manuel Neuer; the eccentric shot-stopper relishes the opportunity to test out his footwork further up the field. Neuer’s playing-style requires precision in positioning and unwavering self-confidence – after Maniatis’ lob, Federici probably lacks both.
Not to take any credit away from Maniatis’ inspired strike – it’ll take something extraordinary at the Euros to surpass it!